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USC’s Spurrier Gives Props To UGA Recruiting. Wait. What?

gfx - they said itFebruary 27, 2013.  Mark down the date.  South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier — long a needler of Georgia’s football program — decided to say some nice things about the Bulldogs’ in-state recruiting yesterday.

(We’ll pause for the shock to wear off.)

Asked if beating Georgia in three consecutive seasons helped his Gamecocks recruit the Peach State, Spurrier told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

 

“I don’t know how much winning three in a row against them helps there.  It just helps that we’ve gone 11-2.  I don’t think we out-recruit Georgia very seldom.  We may get one every now and then that could go to Georgia.  But overall, Georgia gets most of the Georgia kids.  Not all of them, but they’ve almost always recruited the state well, the ones they are after.

You know, there’s a whole bunch of guys there, and they can’t recruit them all.  And I tell people all the time, if there’s 40 defensive backs that sign, how do we know who is going to the best in college?  Someone is going to rate a 5-star and another one a 3-star.  But again, who knows until they go to college and start playing?

There are so many good players in that state. Maybe Georgia gets the most of the top-ranked ones.  But there’s plenty of outstanding players after that.”

 

Spurrier is correct in saying that UGA usually locks up the best players within its home state.  This past year, however, was an exception.  The Dawgs signed just one of the top 12 players in Georgia (as ranked by Rivals.com).  Still, Mark Richt and crew inked the #12 ranked class in the country.  Carolina’s class finished just behind them in the #16 slot.

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2013 Signing Class: Georgia’s Target Zone

target-with-dartsGeorgia added 32 players from 7 different states on Wednesday and Thursday.  A breakdown of the Bulldogs’ “target zone” is below:

 

Georgia = 18 recruits

Florida = 5

Mississippi = 4

Virginia = 2

Indiana = 1

North Carolina = 1

South Carolina = 1

 

In-State Signees = 56.2%

Out-Of-State Signees = 43.7%

 

Observation:

First, the bad news.  Nine of the top 10 prospects in the state of Georgia — including four 5-star prospects — decide to migrate out of the Peach State this week.  Now the good news.  The state is so deep in talent the Bulldogs still signed 18 local products and still wound up with a class ranked in just about everyone’s top 15.  UGA owned the state just two years ago and the Dawgs’ recent success would lead one to believe things would have stayed the same.  But this looks more like a one-year glitch to us than some sort of beginning-of-the-end scenario.  Mark Richt faced one of those on the field a couple of years ago.  He’s gone 22-6 since.  Don’t be surprised to see Georgia owning its backyard again by next February.

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Pinkel Says Arkansas-Missouri Will Be Cross-Division Foes

Earlier this year, R. Bowen Loftin and Harris Pastides — the top brass at Texas A&M and South Carolina — openly spoke of their soon-to-be permanent cross-divisional rivalry.  Now Missouri’s Gary Pinkel has confirmed that talk.

According to Matt Hayes of The Sporting News, Pinkel said today that Missouri will indeed land Arkansas as its permanent cross-divisional rival.  Mizzou’s coach can’t be happy about the fact that he’s losing Texas A&M and an every-other-year trip to recruiting-rich Texas.  At the same time, the fact that Pinkel has been comparing the talent in Atlanta to the talent in Dallas — as well as the fact that his school has put up billboards across Atlanta and the Peach State — makes this is a rather small surprise.

It’s been clear for a couple of months that MU officials believed they’d need to shift their recruiting focus from Texas to Georgia and Florida.

 

 

 

With Arkansas and Missouri pairing up, it will now be Steve Spurrier and Carolina who’ll get the benefit of playing in the Lone Star State every other season.  Ironically, when A&M was added to the league, Spurrier was the first coach to publicly come out and say that his school didn’t do much Texas scouting and recruiting.

That’s likely going to change.

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Saban Talks Peach State Recruiting

Nick Saban has Alabama’s Crimson Tide on such a roll that he can pretty much cherry pick the top recruits from any state he chooses.  This past February that meant grabbing eight kids from the state of Georgia as he built yet another top-ranked signing class.

As we’ve pointed out many times before, the state of Georgia produces more SEC signees each year than any other state.  The fact that only three FBS-level programs exist within the state — Georgia, Georgia Tech and upstart Georgia State — means many of the Peach State’s top athletes will cross state borders and play elsewhere.  Schools across the SEC know this and every program from Missouri to Kentucky to Tennessee to Vanderbilt to South Carolina to Auburn try to raid the state.  But Alabama’s having more success than others.

Asked why by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Saban joked, “Well, I still have a home in Georgia,” referring to his palace on Lake Burton.  Then he said this:

 

“I think we work hard in recruiting and try to have a good program.  We try to help the kids in our program be successful personally, academically, and athletically.  There are a lot of good football players over here in Georgia.

We want to do a good job in a five-hour radius of Tuscaloosa.  Atlanta is the great city with the great population, and has a lot of football players in it.  There’s good high school football in this state and good academics, too.  It has worked out well for us.”

 

Two of Alabama’s 11 current commitments for the class of 2013 come from Georgia.  In addition to the eight Georgia natives he signed last year, Saban inked two in 2011, five in 2010 and five in 2009.  That’s 20 Georgia signees in the last four years with more on the way.

The Peach State cranks out prospects, as we noted above.  Alabama is thriving and is also nearby.  But also playing a possible role in Bama’s success recruiting Georgia kids — Saban’s decision to open the 2008 and 2009 seasons in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta.  In case you didn’t know it, the Tide is already lined up to open its 2013 and 2014 seasons back in downtown Atlanta, too, against Virginia Tech and an opponent to be determined.

Saban knows what he’s doing when it comes to taking his program across the Georgia state line for its season-opening games.

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UGA Finishes Strong, But Richt Thinks Next Year’s Class Will Really Take Off

Georgia entered the day with just 17 commitments.  Now, with a couple of big gets on signing day, the Dawgs appear destined for a Top 10 or Top 5 class depending on the service handing out grades.

Mark Richt told ESPNU today that his team’s 10-win season had a positive impact on today’s class, but he expects even better things in the future:

 

“I think (the 2011 turnaround) affected the class in a very positive way.  I think it’s actually going to affect next year’s class even moreso, because now’s the when the 2013 class starts to fall in love with Georgia or whoever they fall in love with.  And with the momentum that we have from a great season last year, most everybody back on both sides of the ball, lotta great things happening at Georgia… that I think it’s going to be a very attractive place for these young men.  So I think what happened this season will probably benefit next year’s class more than it did this year.”

 

Richt didn’t even mention UGA’s 2012 schedule which most SEC fans outside the Peach State rank as the breeziest of breezes.

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SEC Headlines – 1/11/12 Part Two

1.  New Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease thinks he and Will Muschamp will make “a perfect fit.”

2.  Former Gator safety Josh Shaw will transfer to Southern Cal.

3.  They’re already breaking down Georgia’s 2012 football schedule in the Peach State…

4.  And asking when UGA might reach the BCS title game.

5.  Heading into a game at Auburn tonight, John Calipari says point guard Marquis Teague will have to play at the right pace.

6.  Overall, Kentucky looks quite ready for its first SEC road trip.

7.  It was the defense that sparked South Carolina’s 11-win season.

8.  Hoops coach Darrin Horn needs to keep on politicking in Columbia.

9.  After springing an upset at home over Florida, Tennessee prepares for an SEC road trip to Starkville.

10.  Former Vol receiver Matt Milton will transfer to Louisville.

11.  New UT running backs coach Jay Graham got a three-year deal for $225,000 a season.

12.  No surprise, Vanderbilt rained 3-pointers down upon South Carolina last night.


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SEC Headlines – 11/14/11 Part One

1.  Florida players — on-hand for early meeting yesterday morning — were told that 8-12 plays are the difference between Gator wins and Gator losses.

2.  Billy Donovan’s 7th-ranked squad will get a test from #3 Ohio State tonight in Los Angeles.

3.  Isaiah Crowell racked up the yards while Georgia was in “milk mode,” running out the clock against Auburn.

4.  Naturally, just as folks in the Peach State are starting to feel good again, their underclass players begin weighing their NFL plans.

5.  This writer has a few reasons why Kentucky fans should cut Joker Phillips some slack.

6.  John Calipari’s Cats battle Kansas at Madison Square Garden tonight.

7.  It looks like this year’s South Carolina-Clemson game will feature two ranked teams… a real rarity in the series.

8.  Darrin Horn isn’t concerned with when Bruce Ellington might return from football duty.

9.  Derek Dooley isn’t going to make his Tennessee team watch tape of last weekend’s bludgeoning at the hands of Arkansas.

10.  While the head coach won’t say so, all signs point to Tyler Bray returning as UT’s quarterback against Vanderbilt on Saturday.

11.  Vandy is preparing as if Bray will play… and they want to bring plenty of pressure.

12.  The basketball Commodores will try to bounce back from a loss to Cleveland State when they host Bucknell tonight.

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UGA’s McGarity Says UF Game Not A Must Win For Richt, But…

At 5-2, Mark Richt has gotten his team to rebound nicely from an 0-2 start.  But his team’s wins haven’t come against the Four Horsemen, the Seven Blocks of Granite or the Monsters of the Midway. 

Everyone in the Peach State — and beyond — knows that this is an important game for Richt’s future at Georgia.  Athletic director Greg McGarity told the media yesterday that his coach will not be judged on game.  “I think, at the end of the day, you look at the entire body of work.”

But…


“Our goals are to get to Atlanta.  So a win is a win in the East.  They’re all big.  I think what happens is, this is the sixth game in the league of the year for both teams.  And you only have two left.  So this game carries so much weight, and usually has.”


It seems that the message is this — Richt doesn’t have to beat Florida to help save his job.  He has to beat Florida to win the East to help save his job.

Either way, Saturday’s game may be the biggest of Richt’s career.

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Richt Plans On Having “A Hell Of A Year”

Last night, Mark Richt spoke to a Georgia booster club in the Atlanta area.  His message was upbeat and positive.  And the fans on hand liked what their coach was saying:


“We’re Georgia.  We’ve got good players.  We stumbled last year, but we weren’t far off.  Greg (McGarity) has done a good job supporting us.  The fans have done a great job supporting us. …

No one’s pushing the panic button.  We believe in what we’re doing. …

I plan on having a hell of a year.”


Richt even pointed out that an 0-2 start (with losses to Boise State and South Carolina) would sound the death knell for his club.  “… On paper, those might be the two best teams we play all year,” he said.

But let the Dawgs actually start 0-2 and you won’t be hearing a lot of positivity from the Peach State media or fans.

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Bradley: Richt’s Seat Isn’t Hot And Won’t Be… Until He Loses His Next Game

Wanted to pass along a funny nugget from Mark Bradley of The AJC today.  It sums up not only the feelings around the Peach State these days, but it would also hold true in most college towns as we wind toward the season.

July and August are the months hope rise.  In June, Game X looks like a probable loss.  By July, Game X starts to look like a toss-up.  By August, Game X — even if it’s against the Pittsburgh Steelers — “could go our way ’cause they’ll be overlooking us!”

Well, here’s Bradley’s take on how hopes are rising in Georgia:


“A disconnect was witnessed at the SEC Media Days in Hoover, Ala.  People who live outside Georgia were wondering who will be the Bulldogs’ next head coach.  People who live in Georgia were wondering if Richt might be the 2011 SEC coach of the year.  Heat Index: (Mark) Richt’s job is not yet in question and won’t be until he loses another game.”


And that is the life of a millionaire football coach in a world dominated by instant media, instant analysis and expectations of instant success.

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